Mexico is a federation of states located in the South of North America and comprising of 31 states of which Mexico City is the capital. The nation has a total area of 760,000 square miles, which makes it the 14th largest state globally and the population was estimated at 123,657,325 in 2017. The federal republic is bio-diverse and it ranks first worldwide in the number of heritage site within its borders Mexico is bordered by the US to the north, and Guatemala and Belize to the southeast. There are 11 border crossings between Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico with only one linking Mexico to Belize and 10 to Guatemala.
The Mexico-United States border is one of the most crossed borders globally with both legal and illegal immigrants. It stretches from the Gulf of Mexico across a vast terrain and ends at the Pacific Ocean. The border has a total length of 1,954 miles, and it traverses six Mexican states and four US states. The states at the border include Sonora, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Baja-California, Tamaulipas, and Nuevo Leon in Mexico and New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California in the US. Texas has the longest border with Mexico while the one with California is the shortest while Mexico’s Chihuahua state has the longest border with the US. The Mexico-US border has 48 crossings and 330 entry ports.
The states of Texas, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and some parts of Wyoming, Kansas Colorado, and Oklahoma were once part of Mexico before being annexed by the US. There was a territorial dispute between the US and Mexico which led to the Mexican-American war from 1846 to 1848. The war ended with the first border agreement in 1848 under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; the boundary was revised in 1970 settling the dispute over the Rio Grande. Mexico lost about 55% of its land to the US after the war.
The border served as a trade hub between the two nations and was finally agreed on in 1970. The two federal republics signed a treaty that settled their territorial disputes on the Rio Grande. The border passes through the middle of Rio Grande, along with the thalweg, located at the Gulf of Mexico, for a distance of 1,255 miles to a spot upstream Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. The same boundary then goes West on land for 534 miles to the middle of Colorado River then north, and it ends at the Pacific Ocean. According to the La Paz agreement, the border extends about 62.5 miles on each side for both the land and maritime boundaries. The Rio Grande and Colorado rivers mark the border.
The Belize-Mexico border is 155 miles long and follows the course of River Hondo. The Mexican states of Campeche and Quintana Roo border Belize. The border was set in 1893 and was finalized in 1897. The treaty states that the border begins at Boca Bacalar Chico, and passes through Chetumal Bay up to the bay of River Hondo, and it then follows the Hondo River channel until it gets to the meridian of Garbutt’s Falls. The same boundary then runs south up to where the border meets the one set between Guatemala and Mexico.
There are two bridge crossings at the border. The predominant bridge crossing connects the city of Subteniente Lopez in Mexico to Santa Elena in Belize. The second bridge was built a few miles from the old one and was opened on May 15, 2013. The other cities located at the border are La Union in Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Blue Creek Village, Belize.
Mexicans rarely use the crossing that connects Mexico to Belize, but it has become popular among drug dealers as a drug trafficking zone due to its isolation.
The Guatemala-Mexico border is approximately 541 miles long. The border passes through Huehuetenango, El Peten, San Marcos and El Quiche in Guatemala and Chiapas, Tabasco, and Campeche in Mexico. The border also includes areas along the Salinas River, Suchiate River, and Usumacinta River.
In 1881, Justo Rufino Barrios, then Guatemalan president, decided to lay claim on Chiapas and Soconusco areas which belonged to Mexico. Mexico at first decided not to engage in any negotiations with Guatemala over the region, but in 1882 the presidents of both states decided to have talked in the US. On August 12, 1882, a treaty was signed between the two in New York in which Guatemala relinquished all claims laid to the areas of Chiapas and Soconusco, and the final agreement was signed on November 27, 1882.
The Guatemalan-Mexico border is crossed by several illegal immigrants from Guatemala hoping to work in Mexico or to cross over to the US. The Guatemala-Mexico border is made up of limited fencing with several checkpoints.
In 2014, the US urged Mexico to build a modern and efficient border to try and curb illegal immigration and trafficking across the border. The border is used as a point for the sale and smuggling of firearms, hand grenades, and explosives by the Mexican drug lords, and the weapons are said to be stolen from the ammunition stock owned by the Central American government.
Illegal Crossing Between the Borders
The Mexican borders, even though not disputed, are used for some illegal activities including drug trafficking and illegal immigration. Mexico has the highest number of immigrants in the US, and they make up 28% of the total immigrant population. In 2010, data collected by the United States Border Patrol Agency revealed that almost 90% of the illegal immigrants were from Mexico. As from 2005, illegal immigrants caught at the border undergo criminal prosecution, before that, they were given the option of returning to their country of origin voluntarily.
In 2016, the US presidential nominee, Donald Trump said that one of his goals for the US included the building of a wall along its borders with Mexico to try and curb illegal migrants and that Mexico would have to pay for the wall. On January 25, 2017, Donald Trump signed the order that would allow the building of the wall.